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Friday, June 12, 2009

Strawberry Rhubarb & Rosemary Jam

this here is a love story.

ever since i started this blog it's opened my eyes to food that i normally would never consume or attempt to create. i'm a creature of habit, capable of having leftovers for lunch and dinner for a week. i generally order the same things when eating out. hello, when i go to eat Pho at my fave joint, it's #12 on the menu. or when i hit up thai, i get the drunken noodles or chicken penang. indian: lamb vindaloo. predictable? yes. safe? yes. stepping out of my culinary comfort zone takes a lot. so i posted a rather banal lament over my disdain for rhubarb and why oh why did i dislike it so on my twitter, @exploreandeat put it aptly: Cuz it looks like murdered celery and is way too sour.

not much incentive to give it a whirl, non? however, a few twitter buds put in a good fight and i succumbed. FF to the farmer's market. picked up a few stalks of the stuff, organic for $5. i didn't have a point of reference, i didn't know if that was uber expensive or not. (incidently, went to super fresh the other day and bought some more rhubarb for $2.99) i also picked up a pint of really red ripe strawberries. Nuria says that they're best for jam, the flesh already soft, too mushy to eat but too good to let rot. fine.

it was a simple enough process, one that did not require me to babysit it. the fragrance? delightful. it was a rather pleasant sunday, balmy with a breeze. the smell wafting from the stove to the living room was fruity with just a hint of earth. and thus began my love affair with rhubarb.

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Strawberry Rhubarb & Rosemary Jam
inspired and adapted from Passionate About Baking's Peach-Rosemary Jam

i apologize now for not having exact measurements. i wasn't paying attention.

clean rhubarb as you would with celery. dice into small pieces, throw into mixing bowl. i'd say i had about 2lbs. wash and halve strawberries. i had a pint, they were overly rip and juicy. add to mixing bowl. i also put in two sprigs of rosemary. i *think* i put in about 2 heaping tablespoons of sugar and mixed it all together. chill in fridge for a few hours, stirring occasionally. it's a taste preference. i knew i wanted to have some tartness and i knew that the strawberries were pretty sweet so i didn't want to go over with the sugar.

when ready to prepare, throw out the rosemary. put mixture, which after a few hours has mascerated and is quite juicy, in a pan. allow to simmer rather lazily for half an hour. the concoction becomes quite syrupy. i didn't have to mash up any fruit but i did do a cursory stirring with a fork. allow to cool properly before putting in a clean container. i knew i was going to use the jam quite quickly so didn't bother learning about canning for use later.

rhubarb strawberry jam

verdict:
i tried it for the first time on monday on some rosemary & olive oil potato bread. it was really good. i've definately converted to rhubarbism. it was sweet but without being cloying, tart without making you pucker your lips. the consistency rivals that of any other store bought jam i've ever had. i do believe that i won't ever buy store bought jam now too.

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16 comments:

  1. Down with storebought jam! Great writing too, by the way.

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  2. Nice! Way to write about something homemade, something sweet.

    *Tongue out at the corner of mouth, rolling up sleeves* I'm gonna try your recipe!

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  3. Rosemary flavor in jam, sounds great to balance the the sweetness :)

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  4. Stonking. I like.

    Especially since I've always shared your open-minded wary horror of rhubarb. It would be lovely as jam, I reckon - sharp, like gooseberry, but not too sharp (to be used in Marmite-like scrapings).

    What about savoury uses for it, as with cranberry sauce?

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  5. OK, you've convinced me. Maybe rhubarb isn't so evil, after all. I like your serving suggestion. This jam and rosemary bread do sound nice together.

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  6. that looks really good. i've always wondered about rhubarb, but have never acted on it. i was at work today, and saw some rhubarb being sold outside my building and i thought of this post, haha.

    ... i also saw a coworker with a stalk of rhubarb protruding from her back pocket.

    ... i was too afraid to ask. mainly because she talks a lot and if i got her started, she would have never stopped talking =x

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  7. I love, love the colour you've created. So gorgeous!

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  8. YUM! I can't believe you really are using the word love to describe your feelings for rhubarb. Happy day! I told you!

    Next bunch I get, I am so trying this. Looks fantastic!

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  9. alizaess, thanks so much! i am slowly but surely going to drop my dependency on store bought stuff. :)

    rabbittrick, please tell me you tried this. how did it turn out?

    zita, i loved just the hint of it. i'm a converter of rhubarb and my love of rosemary has increased.

    mike, OMG. i love that you used the term STONKING. please, always use brit-ish colloquial terms if you ever feel the desire to leave me a comment. they make my day. um, i don't know what marmite is but now i'm going to have to have to try it. and i'm not a big fan of cranberry sauce. baby steps here, i consumed it in jam form, i'm going to stick to it for awhile...

    leela, i will continue to pimp out rhubarb jam. it is wonderful when prepared right (ie. with loads of sugar.)

    christy, good thing you did not talk to this person, don't you just dislike peeps like that!?

    dragon, i think that's what turned me. the color just came out so beautifully, it couldn't taste bad!

    shannalee, it's def. official. i have a few stalks of rhubarb in my fridge that are dying to be made into jam (i'm still not sure about making it into something else...).

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  10. I will endeavour to facilitate as much Britishisms as I can muster, old girl. Gosh. What say? *adjust monocle, sips tea* Jolly, jolly super, top hole, etc.

    I'll describe to you what Marmite is. Wikipedia will tell you it's some ghastly semi-liquid paste extracted from vegetable matter, but it isn't - it's actually boiled down Evil. They basically take huge lumps of naturally occuring Evil in the world's most Evil places, and then they process them for months and months until they're supercondensed down so much that they'll fit in a jar.

    Then you take tiny scrapings out, and spread them over bread, and eat the bread. Why you would actually want to do this is beyond me, but that is apparently what some people do. I can only presume that they're punishing themselves for some despicably immoral act. You might as well call Marmite "Repentance Spread".

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  11. I'm scared of rhubarb - really scared of it. It looks weird to me and I've never really figured out why people enjoy it. But since you were once a reluctant eater of it, perhaps I can also be convinced to try.

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  12. Stop riding that bike and show us some more amazing food!

    ;)

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  13. Mike, if it's that popular for people, mayhaps it'd be a best seller here in the states? it will not, however, start with me because you have sufficiently convinced me of its evilness.

    Joanne, please do give it a try. i still think it looks weird and if it weren't mixed in with something juicy and ripe as strawberries, i don't think i would've been as sold.

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  14. Mike, if it's that popular for people, mayhaps it'd be a best seller here in the states? it will not, however, start with me because you have sufficiently convinced me of its evilness.

    Joanne, please do give it a try. i still think it looks weird and if it weren't mixed in with something juicy and ripe as strawberries, i don't think i would've been as sold.

    ReplyDelete
  15. alizaess, thanks so much! i am slowly but surely going to drop my dependency on store bought stuff. :)

    rabbittrick, please tell me you tried this. how did it turn out?

    zita, i loved just the hint of it. i'm a converter of rhubarb and my love of rosemary has increased.

    mike, OMG. i love that you used the term STONKING. please, always use brit-ish colloquial terms if you ever feel the desire to leave me a comment. they make my day. um, i don't know what marmite is but now i'm going to have to have to try it. and i'm not a big fan of cranberry sauce. baby steps here, i consumed it in jam form, i'm going to stick to it for awhile...

    leela, i will continue to pimp out rhubarb jam. it is wonderful when prepared right (ie. with loads of sugar.)

    christy, good thing you did not talk to this person, don't you just dislike peeps like that!?

    dragon, i think that's what turned me. the color just came out so beautifully, it couldn't taste bad!

    shannalee, it's def. official. i have a few stalks of rhubarb in my fridge that are dying to be made into jam (i'm still not sure about making it into something else...).

    ReplyDelete
  16. Stonking. I like.

    Especially since I've always shared your open-minded wary horror of rhubarb. It would be lovely as jam, I reckon - sharp, like gooseberry, but not too sharp (to be used in Marmite-like scrapings).

    What about savoury uses for it, as with cranberry sauce?

    ReplyDelete